THIS WEEK ON WATCHYOURGRAMMAR-“THEY ‘OFFED’ THE LIGHTS CONTINUALLY”

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Hello there, welcome to the week’s summary of WatchYourGrammar, your guide to correct grammar with Gird Center. In the previous week, we looked at the difference between CONTINUOUS and CONTINUAL. We established that though the two words are not wholly synonymous, there are between them some overlaps in meaning. CONTINUOUS and CONTINUAL both communicate the meaning that an action is repetitive or constant.

For example “A long and CONTINUAL academic examination”

“Four hours of CONTINUOUS academic examination.”

The adjectives are different because CONTINUOUS refers to ‘an unbroken whole of an event; a completeness without interruptions’

For example ‘if you don’t stir your batter in a CONTINUOUS manner, your cake will go lumpy.’

CONTINUAL on the other hand explains the NUMBER OF TIMES something happens. CONTINUAL also means “repeated regularly and frequently”.

An example of how CONTINUAL can be used correctly is in the following sentence
‘Over the years, Johnson’s mother has reminded him, in a CONTINUAL manner, of his utter failure as a writer’. Of course, Johnson’s mother cannot complain about his failures every single day of every year; her nagging is repeated and frequent, but not uninterrupted.

Here’s a hint: CONTINUOUS can be used in reference to space as well as time; CONTINUAL cannot be used to refer to space, only time. CONTINUAL means “repeated regularly and frequently”; CONTINUOUS means “extended or prolonged without interruption” (in time or space).

 

Our second lesson from the previous week was on the phrase ‘OFF/ON THE LIGHT’. So here’s a question for you: your room is beginning to get dark. Esi is standing close to the light switch. What do you say to Esi? Do you say “Esi please ON the light”?  If this is what you say – “Esi please ON the light” – is that sentence accurate at all?

Well, it isn’t exactly accurate to say ‘ON the light/ OFF the light’. This sentence is inaccurate because ‘ON’ is a preposition. You cannot use it as you would a verb. You cannot ‘ON’ something; you can only PUT ON something.

The proper thing to say to Esi then is “Esi, please PUT ON the light”.
Alternatively, you can say “Esi, TURN /SWITCH ON the light”

That’s all for last week’s summary of WatchYourGrammar; we look forward to your continual feedback and interactions.

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